realistic art of Allen R. Palmer

Realistic Art by Allen Palmer
Baby Portrait Drawing by Allen Palmer

 The realistic art of Allen R. Palmer is immediately eye-catching because of the extreme attention he pays to detail... from the wisps of hair a baby's head to the fabric of a young man's shirt.

In addition to drawing portraits of animals and people, Allen also draws landscapes and fan art based on his favorite characters and actors. He works primarily in graphite, colored pencil, and marker.

Join us for an interview with this talented self-taught artist, Allen R. Palmer.

Realistic Pencil Portrait by Allen Palmer

Where are you from?

Till I was 7 I grew up a military brat but I've called Las Vegas, NV, USA home for the past 33 years or so.

How long have you been an artist? How did you first know you were an artist?

I get that question a lot and I still don't have a good answer to it... Was it when I first picked up a crayon? Or when I first started making deliberate and intelligible drawings? I think maybe it was when I refined my work into a certain field (comics at the time) in the mid '90's. In the mid 2000's I took another step when I learned portrait work and started applying realism. It wasn't too long before I was able to apply those lessons to my fantasy work as well. I think that is when I knew I was an artist.

Realistic Portraiture by Allen Palmer

What is your favorite medium and why?

Orchid Drawing Allen Palmer

Ya know...I am in the midst of exploring mediums so I don't feel I can properly answer that question. I can tell you that up until the beginning of this year it was graphite...then a preference for colored pencils came to be as it provided an opportunity for greater contrasts and fantastic and striking realistic renders. With the last few months I have developed a love for markers, much for the same reason as colored pencils but with the added benefit of speed as it covers more surface area faster. I plan to explore painting, pastels, charcoal/chalk and other mediums in the future, so I suspect I have many more new favorites in the future :)

What are some challenges of working in your favorite media?

With pencils the challenge is creating contrasts and maintaining them till completion. For colored pencils the challenge is time and smooth blending. For markers it's realistic blending.

What is your favorite subject matter and why?

Portraits. They present a challenge to me, to create an image that can match the original.

This work in progress demonstrates the grid method, with the reference photo on the left and the drawing on the right. 

This work in progress demonstrates the grid method, with the reference photo on the left and the drawing on the right. 

Do you have an art education or are you self-taught?

I am self-taught but owe many thanks to fantastic artists such as Burne Hogarth and Lee Hammond for their fantastic books.

Who are some artists you admire and why?

In addition to the two artists I just mentioned (who created incredible books to learn from), a few comic book artists stand out in memory such as Todd McFarland and Michael Golden.

Marker Art by Allen Palmer

Do you have any advice or tips for beginning artists who would like to draw realistic art?

I think the biggest thing for artists attempting realism is find a consistent way to trick your mind into recreating, on your work surface, what is actually there instead of what it thinks is there. There are many ways to do this and the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain explores this at length.

For photo-realism commissions I like to use the grid method so that I can focus on one piece at a time. Within that box is a small portion of the picture that in itself doesn't really look like anything my brain can associate with, so it doesn't really have an opportunity to distort the picture, so you can actually draw what is there and not what it thinks is there. Also, people tend to not truly appreciate how dark tones and contrasts are (especially when working in graphite) and a great way to learn to appreciate that is to take the photo you are working in and convert it to grey scale (if you haven't already) and then create a negative of it. Then take your drawing and create a negative of it as well... then compare the two. (See the example below.) Now that your brain is not seeing something that it's seen all the time, you can recognize the differences in your work versus reality.

Drawing Tip by Allen Palmer

Where can we find your work online?

You can find my work in several place online as I try to find new places to expose my artwork to critique and create awareness. You can check out my Art Colony profile, my Facebook page and my Palmer Art Studios Facebook page.

Do you accept commissions?

I do accept commissions and am working diligently to find a foothold as a professional artist. I retired from the military over a year ago and am currently working as a freelance artists.

Landscape Marker Art by Allen Palmer

Many thanks to Allen R. Palmer for this interview, and for sharing his realistic art with us!

If you're interested in commissioning an original work of realistic art from Allen, send him a message via his Facebook page.